East Asia Notes
The right-handed Padilla has been signed by the SoftBank Hawks for a reported $3.25 million for the 2013 season. Padilla is now 35 years old, but was reasonably successful as a middle reliever for the Boston Red Sox last year.
One thing that will be interesting to follow with Padilla is what NPB players think of his head-hunting ways. Padilla has a well deserved reputation for throwing inside (he’s hit 109 batters in his major league career, which is third most among active pitchers). This caused a lot of friction with his teammates particularly during his time with the Texas Rangers.
Teammates are a lot more hostile to pitchers who throw inside in the American League, since pitchers don’t bat in the Junior Circuit, meaning retaliation is always against the pitcher’s position-playing teammates. The Hawks play in NPB’s Pacific League which, like the AL, uses the DH.
Meanwhile, Reyes is signing with the SK Wyverns, apparently as a replacement for fellow leftie Doug Slaten, who signed with the Wyverns earlier in the off-season but then apparently had second thoughts about going to South Korea for the year.
Reyes has never pitched well in the majors despite many opportunities (he has a career 6.05 ERA in more than 300 major league innings pitched), but he pitched well in the high minors in 2007 through 2009 and again in 2012. The odds are good he’ll be successful pitching in the KBO.
As a final note, myKBO.net recently posted photos of Hyun-Jin Ryu in his new Dodger uniform. I have to say that Ryu looks like he needs to lose at least ten pounds around the middle.
It’s a reality that pitchers don’t really need to be in great shape to be effective pitchers. However, given all the money that the Dodgers committed to acquire Ryu’s services and get him signed, I’m sure that they’d like to see him work on his conditioning.